Riveaulx Abbey in West Yorkshire is just one of the monasteries that was closed by Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries. The ruins are now an important part of England's heritage and visited by large numbers of tourists.
Whiteboard Activity (Smart): Dissolution of the Monasteries
PPT: Dissolution of the Monasteries
Teachers Notes: Dissolution of the Monasteries
Student's Notes: A contemporary Account of the Spoilation of Roche Abbey
What effect did the dissolution of the monasteries have on English society and culture?
The dissolution of the monasteries happened during a remarkably short period of time. The buildings were abandoned and the monks dispersed. But what happened next? What effect did this have nationally and locally? Who gained and who lost out?
Students can find out the fate of a selection of monasteries, sorting them into categories and then considering what effect each of these might have had. They can search further in the image database for more examples, including any based in their own locality. They can read a contemporary story of the spoilation of Roche Abbey which describes the feelings of local people as they dismantled the church. Students can then relate their findings to the academic debate around the relative importance of the Dissolution to the social and economic problems of Tudor Britain.
An activity is available as either a whiteboard presentation or power point to introduce the topic, help students plan their work and to suggest criteria for selecting information and making a judgement on the question. The teachers' notes and links provide background facts and further information about the events of the dissolution and the period following.
Learning Aims and Outcomes
- Students will use evidence to help in their understanding of the effects of the dissolution of the monasteries
- Students will be able to demonstrate skills in assessing and using evidence, such as the creation of criteria
- Relates to OCR History A - Unit F961 Option A - Study Topic 4: Church and State 1529–89 - The dissolution of the monasteries
- Relates to Edexcel GCE - Unit 3 British history options - 6523A Religion and Monarchy in Tudor and Stuart Times - The dissolution of the monasteries: its political, economic and social impact to 1547
- Relates to AQA Unit 2: The Church in England: the Struggle for Supremacy, 1529–1547 (B) HIS2B - The impact of the dissolutions on society, culture and the Church
Some knowledge of; the events of the dissolution; its part in the Break with Rome; policies of Henry VIII and Cromwell and the changing relationship between Church and State.
Extended Learning and Useful Links
- research using archive sources to find out more detail about individual monasteries and what happened to them - possibly local ones
- relate your findings to the historical debate relating to the relative importance of the Dissolution on social and economic life
- visit one of the monasteries in the care of English Heritage
Find out how you can use The National Archives to find sources for researching an individual abbey
The following websites have more general information * websites have a list of monasteries and what happened to them
http://cistercians.shef.ac.uk/ * only Cistercian – detailed account of 5 abbeys in Yorkshire